Lean In, Lean Out

I profess to understand every mannerism and habit of the Cyclist. I’m Dutch, and I’m a writer, so it all comes pretty naturally. The problem is that thinking you understand something and actually understanding it are two completely different things; the first is confidence, the second is wisdom; there is no Venn diagram that has an intersection between the two. As we move inexorably towards 2016, I humbly seek to temper my confidence with a (light) dusting of hubris.

I’ll start off, a full three days shy of 2016, with my first acknowledgement of not understanding why we do certain things: this leaning against stuff rather than unclipping business. When I say “things”, I mean objects like fences, light poles, cars, other riders, small marking wands that under no circumstances can hold the weight of a Cyclist, rubbish bins, traffic cones and any other paraphernalia that looks inviting.

It is an undeniable fact that Eddy looks entirely badass in this photo, leaning away like putting a foot down on the tarmac would be an affront to the soles of his shoes. There is, of course, a good reason for it: he finally got his toe clips and straps sorted just perfectly, and he is not about to start over on that sordid affair just to avoid putting his handprint on the team car. We, the modern Cyclist, have clipless pedals and they are quite easy to sort and there is very little at risk when it comes to unclipping, apart from the humility of making a balls of it and falling over like a twunt.

Which brings me back to this irresistible desire we have to not unclip from our pedals. Twunt Tumbles aside, there is really no good reason for us not to unclip any time we come to a halt, a practice which itself should admittedly be kept to a minimum. Unclipping is a prime opportunity to demonstrate to the world our ability to Wait Properly. But none of us want to do it. We’d rather wobble about in some sort of balancing act as if putting a foot down were admitting defeat to gravity or the coriolis effect or some other such nonsense.

And careful with the car lean, you might just piss off the wrong driver.

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71 Replies to “Lean In, Lean Out”

  1. @The Pressure

    @wiscot

    @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    Oli, what, exactly, is “fully maing”?

    I believe maing is like mad cow disease but its brought on by veg-a mite!

    I think it’s spelled “mange.” Either way, it’s not pleasant . . .

  2. I hate people who can’t trackstand trying, and either hitting something or falling off or doing the last second desperate unclip.

    OTOH, a good trackstand is the perfect example of casually deliberate. Roll up to the lights, stop right on the line and stay there, preferably seated.

  3. @The Grande Fondue

    I hate people who can’t trackstand trying, and either hitting something or falling off or doing the last second desperate unclip.

    OTOH, a good trackstand is the perfect example of casually deliberate. Roll up to the lights, stop right on the line and stay there, preferably seated.

    Exactly that, and particularly on uphill intersections where you ride away smoothly while the standard ‘casually deliberate’ crew fight to clip in, weave into curbs, and otherwise make unmerry.

  4. @The Grande Fondue

    I hate people who can’t trackstand trying, and either hitting something or falling off or doing the last second desperate unclip.

    OTOH, a good trackstand is the perfect example of casually deliberate. Roll up to the lights, stop right on the line and stay there, preferably seated.

    talk me through this seated track stand, it has me intrigued…

  5. @Oli

    @frank

    @Oli

    So now we have to worry what the fucking morons in cars think of us? Fuck that! Trackstanding is the fucking LEAST of what they hate about us. This thread is fully maing.

    So close! We almost made it to 2016 before running out of our vintage 2015 sense of humor!

    This IS my sense of fucking humour.

    Now, where’s that like button?

  6. Just so youse know, Robert Forstemann apparently ended up on his arse at London’s revolution track series’ longest lap. Even professional sprinters can screw it up.

  7. @frank

    @chuckp

    Unclipping and putting your foot down is perhaps the best opportunity to exude casual deliberateness. Isn’t this how we all look when we’re waiting at a stop light?

    Damn straight that’s how I know *I* look.

    But hopefully without the twunting yellow band…

  8. “Hello, my name is Gilly and I’m a leaner.” Now that I’ve got that off my chest, would love to track stand but can’t, I’m always looking for the lamp post, rail etc to lean on, never a car because that’s just fucking inconsiderate. When leaning, my right leg takes the crank arm to 7 o’clock which gives my calf a nice bit of form. Lights change, away double sharpish.

  9. @Ron

    It’s not exclusive to New York.  I was very nearly pancaked by one of our State Assemblymen in California.

    Note to politicians in general: if you’re going to drive like a maniac, don’t do so in a vehicle with plates that indicate what district you represent.  (…and by extension, exactly who you are.)

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